RANTS

I hate those SitePal ads

Feedback sent to Technorati today: Please, I beg you, kill those talking “SitePal” ads. I keep my PowerBook plugged into an amplified speaker setup all day, and when the “Pal” begins talking after having been displayed for X seconds (without me so much as mousing over it, I’m pretty sure), it’s heinous. And embarrassing if anyone is within earshot. Plus, they creep me out. Thanks, Paul Update: After some testing I think that I was in fact mousing over the ad – my Dock is on the right side of the screen, so with a vertical ad on the right side of the Technorati page it’s easy to do.
QuickTime 0, Open Source 1

QuickTime 0, Open Source 1

So the other day I downloaded a talk from Google Video for offline viewing/listening. (It’s by Jacob Kaplan-Moss, one of the lead developers of Django.) I have a Mac, and Macs are great at video and stuff! Not like those dumb old Windows computers! Hm. No go. QuickTime (version 7.0.4, the latest) can’t do it. Twice it gives me an error dialog saying it doesn’t recognize the file type, forwarding me to a stupendously useless codecs page on the Apple site; twice it ignores the video track but manages to play a squeaky, choppy version of the audio.

Why the python.org redesign is good

I just posted this mini-rant over at reddit.com in response to implications that Python is somehow selling out by getting a more business-friendly makeover. Here’s the thing about the new site being “too corporate” or whatever. Python is not a band with a MySpace profile and an awesome debut album. It’s a programming language. Programming languages live if they’re used, and more or less die if they’re not used.

Linux will eat itself

When I came across Distro of the Month I started thinking that maybe there’s a problem with the number of Linux distributions. Distrowatch.com tracks approximately 372 different Linux distributions. At one per month, it would take 31 years to make it through the list – assuming that no new distributions arrive during that time, which I’m afraid is wishful thinking. Distrowatch’s How Independent Is Your Distribution page boils the numbers down some – 129 of those 372 are based on Debian, for instance.

Digg vs. Reddit vs. Me

The title of this post is a joke, but one you’re only likely to get if you actually use one of these services: in the attention economy of link-sharing, titles that pit one thing against another tend to rise higher. (Maybe this validates the old Wired Magazine guideline of “no conflict, no story” – or maybe it proves the easiest way to get attention is to antagonize.) Over the past few months I’ve played with both Digg and Reddit as ways to discover new and interesting stuff, and wanted to post some notes for the hypothetical reader who is even farther behind this particular curve than I am.

eBay, fraud, filtering, and Web 2.0

Several weeks ago I ranted about eBay’s problems with phishing and some things I am surprised they aren’t doing in response. I’m afraid I’ve got a similar complaint today. I’ve been searching for a present for someone (I can’t be more specific for risk of ruining the surprise!) and noticed that many of the matching items that were coming up in my searches were being offered by sellers in the UK.

Taxonomy of Bubble 2.0

Russell Beattie has posted a rant about Web 2.0 startups. I actually disagree with much of his critique (he veers toward “640K should be enough for anyone” territory more than once), but the rough taxonomy is useful in sorting the heaps of new companies and projects.